Monday, January 18, 2016

Next Vacation

Even as I was returning home from my last, I was thinking about my next. there are many places that would be nice to visit. Some would be cleanup from previous trips. Atlanta is one. Years ago, rumor was that Southern RR was discontinuing their Crescent Ltd, from Washington to New Orleans. For the fun of it I went to Washington and took the Crescent to Atlanta and return the next night. Idid not do much on that trip other than that. Now, there is more to be done and easier transit around the city. The last time in Atlanta, a couple of years ago, I wanted to see the new Streetcars, but the streetcars had not begun operations. My first trip was before the internet, so I did not do a lot of good research as to what to see. Return today would mean streetcars, third rail, other RR, and Underground Atlanta.

I have outlined another Boston day trip. It includes other stops for watching, same stuff, different location. Florida is another option. I laid out three versions. The first is a north Florida excursion, taking two overnight trains, include a stop in Orlando to see Commuter Rail and Jacksonville to see their Monorail. The second version is to Miami. In a very unrailfan move, I think that flying would be good. This would include a trip out to see the Miami Art Deco along the beach. The third version would combined both north and south into one Florida trip. The interesting thing is two trips work out to be four days while combining these two would be 6 days. The big differences is the two overnight on trains.

Chicago is an interesting place for train watchers and others. There are 5 good transfer points, to make you way the Chicago. Coming from Richmond, VA, just transfer in Washington for New Orleans and than to Chicago. This has the drawback of the layover being over night. It does have the advantage of allowing for me to watch the streetcar action in New Orleans. Just as far is to go via Boston and take the Lake Shore Limited to Chicago. New York is a good alternative, to get the Lake Shore Limited. A good alternative is to transfer for the Pennsylvanian in Philadelphia and for the Capitol Limited in Pittsburgh. This takes your route though Horseshoe Curve in Pennsylvania.

Coming from Virginia, the best transfer is Washington, DC. Even here there are two alternatives. One is the Capitol Limited, overnight, to Chicago. The Cardinal takes your trip through West Virginia. As I continue to look at overnight to Chicago, I think back to a previous vacation where I considered a trip to Memphis, TN. My first thoughts were a car trip as I went to Chattanooga. I could continue past Nashville, where there is now commuter rail. Looking at the rail journey, the trip would go via Chicago. That would mean an overnight to Chicago, spend the day in Chicago, overnight to Memphis, spending a day in Memphis, overnight back to Chicago, spend the day in Chicago and finally overnight back to Washington. That would give me two days in Chicago. In addition to Metra and EL and South Shore, and the air train at O Hare, I would have time for more conventional touring, such as going to two sky decks, taking in Navy Pier, and an additional train station. In Memphis, I would see one of the only hanging monorails and streetcars. In addition I would see Mudd Island and its attractions. Taking what started as a three day, two night trip into a five day, four night trip. In addition, all overnights would be on train so no hotel bills.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


As I look to my next adventures, I think about doing a few day trips. I have a liberal definition of day trips. For me, a day trip is one that I spend the day touring or train watching. Where I may differ is getting there, so to speak. Extended day trips would have a full day travel to and a day from, and two nights. All touring is in one day.  My favorite day trip would be overnight on train, day watching, and overnight return. Although in this form, it might be a full day out before going overnight, and a full day after overnight back.

One of my first day trips, I did not think of as a day trip. I was living in Williamsburg, Va. I read in Trains Magazine that Amtrak was buying the SPV 2000, an updated rail car, in the same style as Amfleet. The first delivery would be April and to run the New Have to Springfield runs. I decided to go to Springfield to see this new equipment in its first days.

Living in Williamsburg, at the time, the Colonial ran from Newport News, Va to Boston MA. All I had to do was to transfer in New Haven for Springfield. I chose a chain hotel in Springfield and bought tickets. It was a day trip on train, to New Have and Springfield. I spent the night and railfaned the following day. The third day I took the local to New Haven and the Colonial home.

Let's consider another. Living near Hamlet, NC, I looked at the rail service to Boston, where I wanted to vacation. The only problem is that it required a transfer in Washington, DC and an overnight train from there to Boston. However, the overnight train originated in Newport News, Va and went through Richmond, VA onward to Boston. That left four reasonable points of transfer from the Silver Star and the Northeast Regional: Richmond, Alexandria, Washington, and Baltimore, MD. The route of the Star and Regional did overlap all the way to New York, that would make a very late transfer. For that vacation I chose to fly to Boston and use public transit, except for one day of car rental. I later planned a railfan trip that included Mattapan High Speed, Commuter Rail, and the Green Line (light rail).

A third trip would be when I move to Richmond, Va and take that trip to Boston without layover or transfer.

O course I would consider an out and back in the same day to be a day trip. I would expand it to a trip like to Boston, even with the overnight train, taking as must as 24 hours on train to get there. That would be expanded to one with transfer, even if that transfer was for hours. The first trip, I would be reluctant to call a day trip. in the second case, the trip would cover more than two days but most of the overnight time would be in travel and layovers would be what was necessary.

One more day trip that would take Richmond to Memphis TN, via would require 4 overnights, two going and two returning with one full day layover and transfer in Chicago each way. OK this is stretching the designation to far. I might refer to that as three day trips. I hope to take that one someday.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

More Christmas

Just to conclude, Christmas was varied, Two trains were videoed, another seen and attempted to picture. My friends in Richmond loves to show off the tacky homes. I got picture of two. One expanded to two houses and the other beginning to.

New Years Eve we took in the first. The neighbor of this one played on that old cartoon:

Of course the real lights:

Than the following night we took in number 2:

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Christmas and New years, 2015/2016, Afternoon of the First Day

The morning wasn't really a bust just no pics. I drove back and got new batteries for the camera and back at the room, recharge camcorder batteries. After a nap I went to Staples Mill Station. I wasn't in time for Amtrak but did get two CSX Freights coming through.

For New Years eve, we went to The Science Museum's ball drop, they dropped 2015 balls, frozen in Liquid Nitrogen so they broke on contact. The Science Museum is in the building that was Broad Street Station.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Christmas and New years, 2015/2016, Morning of the first Day

Since summer, I have done little as far as this blog. I did sort the mugs, update patches, and did some organization of the old postcards. I have done some planning for future trips. I may have decided which one I will take in July. I retire in June and may take one then, I will be moving so that will influence where.

I am taking my traditional Christmas to Richmond excursion. Since I am retiring and maybe relocating here, I have mostly been looking a future housing. I had not planned to do any railfanning, but this morning I did go to Main Street Station. Coming into town, I passed by and saw that they had open back up the old train shed. They had remodeled it into a mall to help revitalize downtown, but that didn't work out, than it became storage for citywide textbooks. I had heard rumors that they were planning some renovating of the station.

I had my camera and camcorder with me just as the NE Regional came through. I had four batteries for the camcorder, all depleted. I turned to my SLR it's battery was depleted. I got a video made with my phone and, guess what? I was loss in editing. OH well!